One crucial military capability under scrutiny in the Pentagon is seabased joint forcible entry operations. Civilian policy makers question the nation's need for this capability; they cringe at the investment stream for amphibious and prepositioning ships, mine clearing systems, naval surface fires, and the Marine Corps' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
In weighing the costs of these programs, however, they must think in strategic terms about the distinct advantages of a vigorous power projection capability, which include:
* Credible Deterrence. The ability to conduct joint forcible entry operations at a time and place of our choosing deters would-be aggressors. This effect is more lasting than other forms of deterrence or coercion because it threatens regime survival.
* Negation of Enemy Anti-Access Strategies. To the degree U.S. forces can avoid defensive systems and slice through littoral regions, they will neutralize enemy antiaccess plans and systems. Because antiaccess capabilities appear to be growing worldwide, forcible entry gains value in today's strategic calculations.